MLB Trade Deadline: Kennedy dealt to the Padres for relief helpby Fabian Ardaya on Jul. 31, 2013, under Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks did not go quietly on Wednesday’s trade deadline, making a splash with a big move involving a former All-Star right hander in what may have been the biggest deal on deadline day. But no, Arizona did not acquire the star pitcher, having lost out on the Jake Peavy sweepstakes, and striking out on Bud Norris. Instead, Arizona Diamondbacks have traded former 21-game winner Ian Kennedy to the San Diego Padres in exchange for LHP Joe Thatcher, RHP Matt Stites (AA), and a second round B level compensatory pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, according to an ESPN report.
It certainly has been quite a fall for the beleaguered right hander (3-8, 5.23 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 108 Ks, 48 BBs, .268 BAA) who just two seasons ago finished amongst the top NL pitchers in the 2011 NL Cy Young award voting, posting a 21-4 record with a 2.88 ERA. Kennedy was originally acquired by the Diamondbacks in the Curtis Granderson-Max Scherzer-Kennedy three team deal with the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees during the 2009 MLB winter meetings.
If he is able to turn things back to his 2011 form, this could potentially be a huge steal for the Padres, as Kennedy has some ace ability, with a great circle change-up to pair with a two-seam fastball that has some great late life on it. While Thatcher is an excellent left handed reliever and an improvement over Tony Sipp, and Stites is a great prospect with a 96 mph+ fastball, an on-form Kennedy would make a huge impact on a Padres club that seems to be just a couple players away from contending in a crowded NL West.
I think that in the short-term, the Diamondbacks definitely won this trade, as Thatcher instantly improves the Diamondbacks bullpen while Kennedy was just one of many inconsistent starters in a crowded Arizona rotation. In the long term, it will depend on how Stites progresses, and if Kennedy can return to his old form.
The Padres are definitely a surprising team to go after Kennedy, as they have fallen out of contention after a hot start, and look to continue to be rebuilding for at least the next year. However, it seemed that both Jason Kubel and Kennedy failed to draw much interest on the market, as the only other Kennedy suitor was rumored to be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who also are falling out of contention.
Joe Thatcher has definitely had a great season, posting the following numbers:
50 G, 3-1, 2.10 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 29 Ks, 4 BBs, 11 HLD, .215 BA vs. LH, .280 BA vs. RH
He will beef up the Diamondbacks bullpen as the club looks to finally gain some consistency, regain their division lead, and prevent the Los Angeles Dodgers from
buying winning the 2o13 NL West title. In Stites (46 G, 2-2, 2.08 ERA, 51 Ks, 8 BBs for AA San Antonio this season), they have a piece that could be called up to the big leagues soon and that could be an above-average reliever in the future.
With Kennedy off the books, it still leaves Jason Kubel’s future on hold, as his contract expires at the end of the year (there is an option for next season). It also raises questions about what Arizona’s rotation will look like for the rest of the season. Here’s my prediction:
LHP Patrick Corbin (12-2, 2.24 ERA)
LHP Wade Miley (7-8, 3.86 ERA)
RHP Randall Delgado (3-3, 2.85 ERA)
RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-4, 5.00 ERA)
RHP Trevor Cahill (3-10, 4.66 ERA)/ LHP Tyler Skaggs (2-3, 5.35 ERA)
DIAMONDBACKS TRADE GRADE: B+
PADRES TRADE GRADE: B-